Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1891-1971) Professor of Moral Philosophy and Natural Law at the Catholic University of Louvain, where he introduced sociology (which until 1938 had been prohibited for its so-called positivistic orientation).

In 1948, he founded the Conférence Indernationale de Sociologie Religieuse (CISR, now the SISR) and was its first president. The goal of the society, as he defined it, was to promote methodologically sound socioreligious research for the benefit of those in charge of evangelization. The Vatican immediately warned Leclercq against positivism and the Durkheimian school. As president, he retorted publicly at a CISR conference that "religious sociology" did not need "speculative sociology" like Durkheim's but an American-style sociology, which he characterized as social research into empirical data.

Karel Dobbelaere


P. de Bie, "Jacques Leclercq et le développement de la sociologie," in Jacques Leclercq (Leuven: Société d'Études Politiques et Sociales, 1972): 31-41

J. Leclercq, Introduction à la sociologie (Leuven: IRES, 1948).

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